Wake Up Call: $1.3 Billion Data Class Action Hits Google

• U.K. law firm Mishcon de Reya is said to be leading a class action against Google that seeks as much as $1.34 billion, accusing the search giant of unlawfully collecting personal data of an estimated 5.4 million iPhone users. Consumer rights campaigner Richard Lloyd got $20.85 million in backing from litigation finance company Therium for the suit, while Pinsent Masons is defending Google, according to reports. (The Lawyer) (The Independent) (Financial Times) (Legal Week)

• Luminance, a London-based company whose software helps law firms review contracts and other documents ahead of mergers and acquisitions, has secured $10 million for plans to expand in North America, including a stake from elite firm Slaughter & May. Luminance’s plans includes opening an office in Chicago. (Bloomberg)

• Many lawyers will celebrate the New Year with a new job, as Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, White & Case LLP, Mayer Brown LLP, and Pillsbury Winthrop Saw Pittman LLP recently named attorneys who will have new partner or counsel posts as of Jan. 1. (BLB)

• The Trump administration switched sides in a clash that could upend the Securities and Exchange Commission’s hearing process, telling the U.S. Supreme Court that agency judges were appointed in violation of the Constitution. (Bloomberg)

• Jones Day said it hired five U.S. Supreme Court clerks from the 2016 term to join its appellate practice, adding to the firm’s reputation as a top employer for these clerks. With competition fierce among big firms including Kirkland & Ellis, Jenner & Block and Williams & Connolly, signing bonuses can exceed $300,000. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)



Legal Market/Actions

• The European Union’s top court ruled that companies must pay employees for vacation time they were unable to take during the year. Slater and Gordon’s U.K. employment practice chief in London said the ruling has “huge potential implications” for gig economy workers claiming worker status at companies including Uber, Deliveroo and others. (Bloomberg)

• Chicago has retained plaintiffs’ privacy-litigation firm Edelson PC to represent the city in a consumer fraud lawsuit against Uber Technologies Inc. over a recently disclosed 2016 data breach. Uber also faces lawsuits filed by Washington state, San Francisco, as well as direct class claims from consumers and state attorneys general, over the breach. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• A deputy general counsel at Uber attempted to undermine testimony by a former security manager who alleged the company used encrypted messaging to hide its tracks while spying on rivals, evading authorities and fighting off lawsuits. But noting that Uber paid the security manager $4.5 million over his termination, the judge in the case said “people don’t pay that kind of money for B.S.” (Bloomberg)

• New York’s attorney general and the U.S. Government Accountability Office are looking into oddities in the FCC’s electronic public comment system on net-neutrality rules, which was flooded with comments aimed at gaming debate on the rules, including 444,938 comments from Russian email addresses. (Bloomberg)

• Comcast dropped a net neutrality pledge from its website the same day the FCC announced it would repeal the rules, according to report. (Ars Technica)

• The looming demise of net neutrality rules is just the beginning of problems to come for tech giants including Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple. (Bloomberg Businessweek) What would a U.S. antitrust crackdown on those companies look like?  Bloomberg talked to experts at law schools, law firms and others. (Bloomberg)



Regulators and Enforcement

•  With the political fight over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under a spotlight, the Federal Housing Finance Agency is having a quiet but instense fight with the White House over what to do with more than $7 billion owed to the government at year-end by Fannie Maeand Freddie Mac. (Bloomberg)

• The Justice Department is extending an Obama-era program that reduces financial penalties for companies that admit to foreign bribery, with the twist that the feds will now also be more likely to consider forgoing criminal charges. (Bloomberg)

• A medical charity that received hundreds of millions of dollars from pharmaceutical companies may close after it lost a crucial stamp of approval from the U.S. government. The government said in a letter that the copay assistance charity Caring Voice Coalition allowed its donors improper influence over how the nonprofit was run. (Bloomberg)


 The Trump Administration

• President Donald Trump’s choice to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, former president of Eli Lilly & Co. and former deputy secretary at HHS, lacks direct health privacy and security experience but his prior HHS employment would help him navigate such issues, lawyers said. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• Twenty-three Trump businesses including his Mar-a-Lago Club must retain records after getting subpoenas from the attorneys general in Maryland and the District of Columbia as part of a lawsuit accusing the president of profiting from his office. (Bloomberg)



Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• U.S. Supreme Court justices hinted they may curb the power of law enforcement officials to track people using mobile-phone data, expressing concern about privacy intrusions in the digital age. (Bloomberg)



Laterals, Moves, Law Firm Work

• Chicago-based Sidley Austin, LLP said it added former Latham & Watkins lawyers Alexander Temel and William Schwab to the firm’s Boston office as partners in its private equity practice. The firm said earlier in the week that two Simpson Thacher & Bartlett lawyers, Wim De Vliege and Till Lefranc, will join the firm’s private equity practice as partners in London. (Sidley.com)

• Philadelphia-based Cozen O’Connor said it is getting veteran labor and employment litigator Tina Syring as a member in its Minneapolis office and national labor & employment department, as part of its expansion in the Midwest. The firm said Syring is coming over from Barnes & Thornburg LLP, where she was a partner. (Cozen.com)




 • Trump’s retweet of a series of anti-Muslim videos posted by a leader of a far-right group in the U.K. risks undermining his travel-ban defense a week before two federal appeals courts are set to to hear challenges to the directive. (Bloomberg)

• Apple and Qualcomm trade new patent-infringement allegations in their increasingly nasty royalty fight. (Bloomberg)



• Minnesota story teller Garrison Keillor, fired yesterday by Minnesota Public Radio, said he was friends with the woman who has accused him of workplace misconduct, “right up until her lawyer called.” (Associated Press via BLB)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.